Realized after a few years that working for the Big 4 is not for you? No problem, because companies are lining up to bring Big 4 leavers on board, according to international recruitment specialist Robert Walters. At the Big 4 you lay a foundation that you can use at almost any other company.
Robert Walters' recruitment specialists speak to (former) Big 4 professionals very regularly and notice that the name of one of the big four audit & consultancy firms on the CV is almost always a guarantee for a successful career, even if the career eventually continues outside the Big 4. About fifty per cent of new starters at the Big 4, and maybe even more, initially have doubts about whether the up-or-out structure is ultimately for them. Nevertheless, they do see these audit and consulting firms as an exceptionally good place to learn, and therefore as a good start to their careers.
This already starts with the strict entry requirements, as the threshold to get in at all is high. Big 4 professionals generally are strong communicators, know what they can do and have no trouble thinking in terms of processes. They are also good at stakeholder management, have a solid financial base and can deal well with deadlines. Big 4 also provide new starters with skills that will be highly valuable by other employers, such as always pushing yourself to go the extra-mile whilst providing an outstanding quality of work and being efficient.
Once on board, starters follow a challenging internal training programme. You can then grow further, become a manager and eventually a partner, but the work ultimately remains the same in the basic sense.
These internal training courses and opportunities for growth make these finance professionals highly sought after by other organizations. And in the current tight labour market, more companies even take over an outstanding student debt to entice professionals to make the switch.
Due to the strict entry requirements and good education programmes, potential new employers already know that they are bringing qualified professionals on board with Big 4 talent, but the work experience also makes these financials highly desirable. Their analytical skills and financial knowledge in particular give them an edge since they always must be up to date with the latest legislation and regulations for their clients.
Another advantage is that Big 4 professionals work for many diverse types of clients. Depending on the team you are in you meet many different companies. If you choose financial services, you work with banks, insurers, investment funds and large real estate parties, for example. On the other hand, you have commerce, where you will help clients ranging from e-commerce to logistics service providers. So Big 4 professionals learn what the revenue models are at many different organizations and know where the risks lie within such a business.
Stakeholder management is also an important skill that Big 4 talent learn on the job, including through the audits for which they visit clients who sometimes find this difficult. But Big 4 professionals also gain a lot of experience internally when they end up in a managerial role at some point.
Of course, working for the Big 4 also lays the foundation for a great network from which professionals can benefit for the rest of their careers. And that does not necessarily have to come from colleagues.
You get to know a lot of clients better. We sometimes see professionals start working at a client where they have carried out an audit. Not always immediately, there are often clauses for that, but at a later stage they sometimes ask if someone is interested in working for them, because it was a very pleasant cooperation in the past.
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